- Nine Brimstone separation trials are currently scheduled, beginning June 2017
- There were 40 carriage trials conducted towards the end of 2016
BAE Systems is set to begin initial firing trials of the MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface precision attack weapon with the Eurofighter Typhoon swing role combat aircraft in June, following the conclusion of vibration testing and a series of carriage trials at the company's site in Warton, Lancashire.
A BAE Systems spokesperson told Jane's that a total of 40 carriage trials of Brimstone with the UK Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 were conducted towards the end of 2016 to evaluate integration of the weapon with the platform. "The flights included 3 early vibration data gathering, 6 flutter, and 31 aero data gathering flights," the spokesperson said. Ground testing and initial flight trails were completed in 2016.
Eight of the flights were conducted by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) 41(R) Test & Evaluation Squadron based at RAF base Coningsby, Lincolnshire, as part of the Combined Testing Team approach - an initiative designed to allow 41(R) Squadron to become involved in early versions of planned upgrades and deliver feedback that can be assessed and directly worked back into the design process to meet future RAF requirements.
During the course of the carriage trials the Typhoon IPA6 flew with a weapons load-out of four Air Intercept Missile-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, two Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles, two Paveway IV laser guided bombs, and a Brimstone operational launcher on each wing each equipped with three Brimstone training missiles.
"Since then additional flight trials activity, such as environmental data gathering testing, has been carried out ahead of planned firing trials this year, " the BAE Systems spokesperson said.
The BAE Systems spokesperson declined to disclose the location of the planned June 2017 Brimstone firing trials - which will evaluate the effectiveness of the weapon in operational scenarios - but confirmed that "it is currently scheduled that nine safe separation trials will take place".
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